PREVIEW: LYON - RENNES
Carlos Bocanegra and visiting Rennes will have their hands full on Sunday when they take on third place Lyon at Stade Gerland in Lyon.
Bocanegra started last week's match versus Le Mans on the bench but was an early substitute after a 20th minute groin injury to defender Kader Mangane.
The strain will sideline the Senegalese for three weeks opening the door for Bocanegra to reassert his place into the starting 11. The California native must exert some caution though as a yellow card this Sunday would prompt another match suspension.
After a string of subpar results which yielded just one win in their last six matches, Les Rouges Et Noirs got back on track by pulling out a late 2-1 win at home heading into this weekend's encounter against their eastern French foes.
Rennes head coach Frederic Antonetti is likely to deploy a defensive strategy on Sunday as three of his top five goal scorers on the campaign are either out or nursing injuries.
Forward Asamoah Gyan, who was the hero in last weekend's victory with an 80th minute game-winning goal, is sporting a sore ankle and has sat out training exercises this week. The Ghanian is likely to start, however it remains to be seen how much of an effect his ankle will have on his playmaking abilities.
Lyon come into the match with their own doubts. Even though head coach Claude Puel's squad is through to the knockout round of the Champions League, the club suffered their most disappointing result of the year last week when they could only muster a 1-1 draw versus bottom feeder Grenoble.
It was the second consecutive draw for the seven-time Ligue 1 champions who also split points the week before against Marseille in a 5-5 match that was one for the ages.
Lyon are loaded up front with French national team striker Bafétimbi Gomis and midfielder Sidney Govou leading the charge and will require a world class effort by Bocanegra and the Rennes defense to keep the hosts' offense at bay.
Puel will have to make due without a number of players whom are out due to a myriad of injuries including Anderson, Mathieu Bodmer, Anthony Réveillère, Maxime Gonalons, Jérémy Toulalan and François Clerc.
In addition to Mangane, the visitors will be missing the services of Jerome Leroy and Cheikh Ndiaye due to injuries.